At the Beaconsfield Mine & Heritage Centre, there is a section titled Mine Rescue. It is a monument of sorts, dedicated to the story of Brant Webb and Todd Russell. And it’s quite an emotional journey.
Beaconsfield Mine Rescue
Anzac Day 2006: a day the Beaconsfield community will never forget. An underground rock fall at the local gold mine left two miners trapped and caused the death of another, Larry Knight. The extraordinary tale of courage, determination and effort in order to rescue the survivors is depicted at the Heritage Centre.
Brant Webb and Todd Russell
A re-creation of the cage in which the miners were trapped can be accessed through a concrete tunnel. It’s a very tiny space! The thought is made even more terrifying by seeing the rocks held back by a flimsy bit of wire mesh.
The saga at the Beaconsfield Mine dragged out over a tense fortnight, and each day was meticulously covered by the media. The world-wide attention the rescue generated was a story in itself. ABC Television replays and newspaper headlines shown at the museum are a reminder of the transformation of the small Tasmanian town into a broadcasting hub.
Beaconsfield Mine and Tasmania
The contribution of the community is also acknowledged in the exhibit. Colleagues, emergency services and volunteers from all sectors played their own special roles in the Beaconsfield mine rescue. Some of their thoughts are printed on posters and highlight the torment of the fortnight.
Local Community Rescue Effort
Just as helpless friends bake for a funeral, locals and strangers alike were churning wool into a long scarf as a sign of respect for the courage and effort involved. The brightly coloured knitwear is displayed in a huge cabinet. Opposite, a banner signed by locals as a thank-you statement to the world, hangs on the wall.
Relief, Gratitude and Respect
And impossible as it may sound, a quote from Todd Russell near the exit of the Beaconsfield Mine Rescue Room sums up the mood.
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